Playgrounds spring to life again

Work has begun to replace equipment that was removed from local playgrounds last year. And local youngsters already are making the most of it.
A new play structure was installed at the Phair Avenue park last week. It was ready for use by Friday afternoon.
“By six o’clock Friday night, there must have been 13 or 14 kids there playing,” said Fort Frances OPP Cst. Caroline Spencer, who helped spearhead a fundraising campaign through the local Crime Stoppers program to replace the equipment.
The Phair Avenue park also will get a see-saw and four swings.
Work also has begun at the Front Street park with the installation of a new play structure and four swings. Meanwhile, the Lillie Avenue park will get a play structure and see-saw.
Each park also will be outfitted with two picnic tables.
The fundraising campaign began a year ago after much of the town’s playground equipment was removed due to safety standards.
Crime Stoppers agreed to get involved because its mandate is to make communities safer places in which to live and work. Restoring parks where children can play will keep them out of the streets and reduce unsafe behaviour.
The group was able to raise $40,000, with major contributions from the Moffat Fund ($15,000), CIBC ($5,000), MacDonald Motors ($3,000), and CN Safe Communities ($3,000).
Crime Stoppers also was adopted as the local Canada Safeway charity last fall, which raised another $12,000.
The Town of Fort Frances contributed $35,000 to help purchase equipment and the parks board is installing it. The work is expected to be completed by the end of the month.
In one short year, Crime Stoppers was able to achieve its goal.
“Seeing those kids on the play structure Friday night made it all worthwhile,” Cst. Spencer said. “The community response has been fantastic. We have happily concluded this project.”